Category Archives: Managing Authors’ Rights

Notice and Takedown and Academic Digital Libraries

Posted August 8, 2017
photo of academic library

photo by Redd Angelo | CC0

Prior to joining Authors Alliance as Executive Director earlier this year, Brianna Schofield was the Clinical Teaching Fellow at UC Berkeley Law’s Samuelson Clinic, where she co-authored an article with Jennifer M. Urban, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Samuelson Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law, examining academic libraries’ experiences with notice and takedown. Takedown and Today’s Academic Digital Library has now been published by Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s I/S Journal of Law and Policy. We share a summary of the article below, and invite readers who are interested in learning more to access the full article here.

In recent years, academic libraries and archives have increasingly used digital means to preserve materials and provide access to users, allowing them to serve more diverse, and much more far-flung, populations. For example, libraries and archives are increasingly digitizing collections with unique or rare material that otherwise has limited circulation in order to improve long-term preservation and expand access to cultural heritage. The growth of online scholarship repositories and sharing sites, where academic authors post papers for wide access, is another central development. The evolution and the dissemination of academic works from print collections to open digital forms is widely heralded as increasing access to academic knowledge and fueling research.

Academic libraries have emerged as key players in the move to open access and are rapidly developing platforms that provide digital access to scholarship. As libraries and archives increasingly move into the online open access space, they are thrust more directly into debates over the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) section 512 notice and takedown regime than they have been in the past. Section 512’s safe harbor from copyright liability is aimed at online services that host material contributed by others; however, libraries did not often host material posted by others and were therefore unlikely to be eligible for this protection. Newer institutional open-access repositories, on the other hand, may hold many works placed there by third parties, usually authors. These author-directed postings to institutional repositories may put academic libraries into the role of host, thus bringing them under the aegis of the formal notice and takedown system created by the DMCA.

Using survey questions and interviews, Schofield and Urban examined academic libraries’ interactions with both DMCA and non-DMCA takedown notices. They found that academic libraries most commonly receive non-DMCA takedown requests that are based on non-copyright issues (such as privacy) or that target materials the library itself placed online. In general, libraries have well-developed norms and practices in place to manage these types of requests to remove material.

They also found, however, that formal DMCA notices directed to libraries have historically been rare, but that this may be changing as open-access repositories hosted by libraries grow. Library respondents worried that an increase in DMCA takedown requests could result in valuable scholarship being removed from online repositories, thus limiting libraries’ ability to fulfill their missions to preserve and disseminate knowledge. In tracing the recent experience of academic libraries that have received DMCA takedown notices targeting materials in open access repositories, Schofield and Urban found that libraries have not yet developed norms and practices for addressing these requests.

To help libraries effectively manage increased takedown requests while maintaining publishers’ ability to monitor content made available in online repositories, Schofield and Urban recommend that:

  • Academic libraries should continue to educate authors about author-friendly publishing practices, and authors should retain more control of their own works.
  • Publishers, authors, and academic libraries should take steps to make the terms of publication agreements transparent.
  • Academic libraries should continue to support—and authors should embrace—open access policies.
  • Academic libraries should consider developing shared norms and best practices for DMCA notice handling similar to those they have developed for non-DMCA requests.
  • Academic institutions should ensure that librarians receive any DMCA notices targeting library materials that are sent to DMCA agents in other departments, and that library-developed best practices are followed in handling these notices.
  • Publishers should develop and publicly communicate reasonable notice-sending policies.
  • Publishers should ensure that third-party rights enforcement organizations, if used, comply with publisher notice-sending policies.
  • Academic libraries should consider creating educational materials about the counter notice process and tools that make it easy for authors whose works are challenged to send counter notices if their content is inappropriately targeted for takedown.

For more information about Schofield and Urban’s findings and recommendations, we invite you to read Takedown and Today’s Academic Digital Library.

Rights Reversion: Restoring Knowledge and Culture, One Book at a Time

Posted July 25, 2017

ALA District Dispatch LogoThe following post originally appeared on the American Library Association‘s District Dispatch blog on July 18. Thanks to Carrie Russell, Director of the Program on Public Access to Information at the ALA, for helping us to share information about Authors Alliance and rights reversion with the library community!

For many of us, it’s an all-too-familiar scenario: We’re searching for a book that’s fallen out of print and is unavailable to read or purchase online. Maybe it’s an academic text, with volumes held in only a few research library collections and all but inaccessible to the public. Or maybe it’s one of the many 20th-century books whose initial commercial life has ended, and whose copyright status means they have disappeared. Most of these books were published long before the advent of the Internet, or of e-books. Finding and accessing these volumes can be frustrating and time-consuming, even with the benefit of interlibrary loan. There’s all this valuable knowledge and culture out there, but we can’t get to it!

Wouldn’t it be great if there were some mechanism to give new life to the many books that have been “locked away,” to make them newly available, and to share them with new audiences?

Thanks to rights reversion, there is a way! Reversion enables authors to regain the rights to their previously published books, so that they can make them newly available in the ways they want. Some authors may want to bring their out-of-print books back into print, while others may want to deposit their books in open access online repositories. Still others might want to update their works, create e-book versions with multimedia resources, or commission translations.

A “right of reversion” is a contractual provision that permits authors to work with their publishers to regain some or all of the rights in their books when certain conditions are met. But authors may also be able to revert rights even if they have not met the triggering conditions in their contract, or if their contracts do not have a reversion clause at all! Reversion can be a powerful tool for authors, but many authors do not know where to start.

That’s where Authors Alliance comes in. We’re a non-profit education and advocacy organization whose mission is to facilitate widespread access to works of authorship by assisting authors who want to share knowledge and products of the imagination broadly. We provide information and tools designed to help authors better understand and manage key legal, technological, and institutional aspects of authorship in the digital age.

Our Guide to Understanding Rights Reversion was written to help authors navigate the reversion process. (Check out the rights reversion portal on our website to download or buy the guide, and for more resources including letter templates for use in contacting publishers about reversion). Since we released the guide two years ago, we’ve featured a number of reversion success stories. For example, Robert Darnton (professor emeritus at Harvard and a founding member of Authors Alliance) worked with his publisher to regain rights to two of his books about the French Enlightenment, and he has made them freely available to all via HathiTrust and the Authors Alliance collection page at the Internet Archive. Novelist and Authors Alliance member Tracee Garner successfully leveraged reversion to regain the rights to two of her previously published books. She’s currently working on a third volume, and she plans to release all three as a new trilogy.

Rights reversion has a great deal of potential to help authors and the public, and librarians are in an excellent position to help spread the word about reversion. Many senior academics have decades’ worth of scholarly books, many of which may be out of print and locked away in inaccessible library stacks. None of them are available online. Rights reversion can be a way to help authors ensure their intellectual legacy, while also bring their works to new audiences.

Reversion is good for authors, good for publishers, and good for the public interest. You can learn more by visiting our website, where we invite you to become a member of Authors Alliance! Basic membership is free, and our members are the first to hear of new resources, such as our forthcoming guide to fair use and our guide to publication contracts. We also feature news on copyright policy and advocacy.

If you have questions about rights reversion, we can be reached at reversions@authorsalliance.org. We’d also love to hear about your experiences with assisting authors with these issues—who knows, maybe yours could be the next rights reversion success story!

 

Terminating Transfers: An Inalienable Right Under Threat

Posted July 6, 2017

Mike Wolfe headshotThe following is a guest post by Mike Wolfe, Scholarly Communications Officer at UC Davis, and the former Executive Director of Authors Alliance.

Sometimes, being an author means making bad deals. Authors are routinely asked to sign away their rights for the life of copyright—which lasts 70 years after death in the U.S.—and the promise of publication, or an advance, or just being done leads them to say, “yes.”

Authors always have options when they come to regret these decisions, but in the U.S. they often hold a trump card: Termination of transfers. These legal provisions, when exercised properly, let authors walk away from their copyright transfers. The linchpin that makes the whole thing work, and the feature that makes these rights so powerful, is that termination rights can’t be signed away. They work “notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary.” At least, that’s what the law says in the United States.

But termination rights are such a powerful tool for authors that they are constantly under threat. Recently a very public series of high-profile (and star-studded) lawsuits has helped to bring this into focus. First, a troubling court decision in the United Kingdom late last year created the potential to undermine the U.S. termination rights of authors worldwide, and more recently a lawsuit initiated by Sir Paul McCartney in the U.S. stepped in with the goal of protecting them.

Duran Duran, the British pop group behind “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Rio,” wrote their top hits while under contract to assign the copyrights—a contract signed as teenagers at the very beginning of their careers. Decades later, on the hunt after valuable royalties, the band exercised their U.S. termination rights in order to regain copyright and benefit from the success they realized “across the Rio Grande” from Mexico. It’s hard to imagine that, at the time, they had any inkling of being sued in the United Kingdom for breach of contract.

But the contract Duran Duran signed was with a British company, and was subject to British law. With Duran Duran’s terminations processing in the United States, the rightsholder brought Duran Duran into court in the U.K. for violating this agreement. In a highly questionable decision, the British court hearing the matter found that Duran Duran’s proper exercise of their rights under U.S. law was nevertheless a breach of their contractual commitments. (The band was granted leave to appeal the decision in February.)

While this one decision isn’t the last word on whether British law will ultimately respect U.S. termination rights, it does set a dangerous precedent. As high-profile terminations become more common, others will try to challenge them in local courts not just in the U.K., but all around the world. And the U.K. is a particularly important leader, given its large international role in many cultural fields, and particularly in international publishing. Authors from around the world, including authors in the U.S., publish with presses based in the U.K., signing agreements subject to U.K. law.

Enter Sir Paul McCartney, who has his own set of British music publishing contracts that might have been turned against his terminations of transfers. (McCartney would have been eligible to exercise his termination rights in October 2018.) Far from letting it be, I’ve got a feeling that McCartney drove his car down to the courthouse eight days a week, dead set on fixing that hole. His recent lawsuit against Sony/ATV, filed in the United States, sought a confirmation that he may exercise his termination rights without breaching his contracts. Late last week, however, the case settled under undisclosed terms, leaving the status of Sir Paul’s termination claims unclear.

The ramifications here are important. Notably, Duran Duran did not have expert evidence of how the U.S. termination rights override contracts to the contrary. If McCartney had gone to trial and won, he would have had more than just expert evidence; he would have had a judicial opinion in his favor. These cases might not be the last word on the subject, but pursuing  termination of transfers is one way put a halt to the disturbing trend of chipping away at authors’ rights. U.S. copyright law gives all authors, regardless of nationality, a very powerful right and authors everywhere have a stake in seeing it preserved.


Authors Alliance and Creative Commons are finalizing rightsback.org, an online tool designed to assist authors in identifying their eligibility for termination of transfer rights. The tool is currently in beta, and we expect to officially launch rightsback.org this fall. We will keep our readers updated on progress. In the meantime, we encourage authors to test the tool—it’s a powerful way to learn more about termination rights.

Rights Reversion Success Story:
Tracee Lydia Garner

Posted April 19, 2017

Just in time for the second anniversary of our Guide to Understanding Rights Reversion, we’re pleased to feature Authors Alliance member Tracee Garner’s success story. Since gaining back the rights to two of her previously published novels, she’s resumed work on her Jameson Trilogy, due to be published next spring. We met with Tracee at the AWP conference in Washington, DC, earlier this year, and she generously shared her rights reversion experience with us in the following Q&A.

Novelist and Authors Alliance member Tracee Lydia Garner

AUTHORS ALLIANCE: What first motivated you to get the rights back to your previously published novels?

TRACEE LYDIA GARNER:  I hadn’t really thought of reversion until I heard other authors asking how to go about it. Then I went to a conference in 2015, and a young woman came up to me and asked me if I would ever write Jojo’s story [the continuation of a character featured in her previous books.]  I admit that at first, I was annoyed—not so much at her, but more at myself, because I hadn’t finished with him, and I secretly did want to!

Then I had to look at how I could make it happen. If I was going to write Jojo’s story, I wanted to fold it in with my earlier books, update the covers and content, and release them as a new set, since any marketer will tell you that sets do very well. But in that case, I had to ensure that I could get the rights to those earlier books back. And then I had to get new ISBNs and do a bit of reload and relaunch to make it all work. All of that was the catalyst for formally requesting my rights.

AuAll: How did you go about requesting a rights reversion?

TLG: First, I researched online about writing a reversion letter to my publisher. Then I had to dig out my almost twenty-year-old contract and figure out whom to contact. (When you have one of the largest publishers in the world, with offices in NYC and Canada, it seems like real investigative journalism!) Contracts are very intimidating, and you have no desire to revisit it at all. You resist (and our creative minds can even make it more difficult than it has to be).

Once I figured out the jargon, found a sample letter online, and tracked down the right contact people (or their replacements), I e-mailed my request to my publisher. Then I waited (a good little bit)! I think I re-sent the letter at least once, saying “Hey, over here.” It took months until I got the letter saying that I had, in fact, fulfilled my seven-year contractual obligations. Very official!

AuAll: So you were eligible to exercise a clause in your contract granting reversion rights?

TLG: Yes, my contract was for a term of seven years. After seven years had passed, they were my books in theory, but it’s never good to assume, so I made the request to ensure that I received appropriate documentation to that effect. With the influx of digital rights and an ability to make use of ebook versions and audio versions, it’s important to be certain you are cleared for these kinds of rights, too. Be sure there was no addendum to your contract that permitted your publishers to hold onto these rights, and only revert some of the parts back to you.

AuAll: Did you face any obstacles in getting your rights back? Is there anything you wish you’d known going into the process?

TLG: The hardest part was finding the words to use and finding the appropriate persons to contact. Reversion doesn’t seem commonplace, at least not yet. Who would’ve thought we could ask for our rights back, repackage, edit, slap on a new cover (after design headaches, of course!), add new ISBNs, relaunch…and voila! New audience, new eyes, new readers. But there is also something intimidating about rights being returned to you. Rights back? For what? What do I do with them?

I imagine that at least some writers might have thought that ABC Publishing Company would publish forever and we’d all be fortunate enough to collect royalties like the estate holders for Michael Jackson and Elvis and all the popular TV shows and radio artists—only to find out that no, it doesn’t work like that!

AuAll: What advice do you have for other authors who might want to pursue a reversion of rights?

TLG: Remember that someone has already been through every incident you could possibly think of. Even though we sometimes feel like we write alone in our little caves, there are people out there to help. And it is worth the effort!

AuAll: How has reversion helped you? What have you been able to do with your book since reversion?

TLG: I had written two books in a planned trilogy, but I never finished the series. So I will be editing and repackaging the two books that I have back. I am finishing the third installment now. Fixing the books is no small feat, but the excitement of having a new trilogy propels me toward completion. It’s very exciting that, thanks to reversion, your characters get a second life, as does your career overall.

Tracee Lydia Garner is a bestselling, award-winning author. Her sixth book, the romantic suspense novel Deadly Affections, was released in March 2017. Born and raised in a suburb of the Washington DC metro area, Tracee works in health and human services, and is a speaker and advocate for people with disabilities. Her forthcoming Jameson Trilogy—made possible thanks to rights reversion—is scheduled to debut next spring. Find Tracee on the web at www.Teegarner.com.

Authors, if Tracee’s success story has inspired you to consider reverting rights to your previously published work, you don’t have to start from scratch! We’ve already done much of the preliminary work for you. Visit the Authors Alliance Rights Reversion Portal, where you’ll find our complete Guide to Understanding Rights Reversion, as well as letter templates for use in contacting your publisher, plus a collection of reversion success stories.

If you value our work and are not yet a member of Authors Alliance, please consider joining today. Basic membership is free, and our members are the first to hear about our latest tools and resources.

Why Universities Need Scholarly Communications Experts

Posted December 20, 2016

Pamela Samuelson, President, Authors Alliance

Note: This article originally appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education on December 11, 2016, but is available to subscribers only. The full text is reprinted below.

Universities have long felt victimized by proprietary publishers who charge their libraries large sums of money for the journals, books, and other materials in which faculty research is regularly published. Why, university administrators often ask themselves, do we have to pay twice for this work: once when we pay faculty members’ salaries, and then again when we pay for the journals and other publications in which their research appears?

In the last two decades, many administrators have come to realize that advances in communications technologies present opportunities for their institutions and faculty members to achieve their missions of producing and disseminating knowledge more effectively than ever before. Indeed, scholars can now reach and have an impact on readers all over the world, not merely on a small and closed community of fellow academics.

In an effort to take advantage of the opportunities of the digital age and reverse or at least mitigate the more troubling trends in scholarly publishing, some leading research universities, including the University of California at Berkeley and at Davis, Duke and Harvard Universities, and the University of Toronto, have hired scholarly communications experts. While these professionals’ assistance in shaping institutional information policies has been invaluable, even more significant is the role that they can play in achieving bottom-up changes in the culture of scholarly communications.

They can help faculty members, students, and other researchers become more knowledgeable about managing their copyrights and publishing contracts, understanding what they can and can’t do with the work of others, and complying with federal or grant mandates about enabling public access to research and data.

These specialists are especially valuable in creating lines of communication between university librarians, who are responsible for acquiring and managing large collections of scholarly materials that their communities need to access, and the faculty, students, and researchers who both use and produce scholarship. Those users sometimes struggle over copyright, contract, and other policy issues when deciding what they can and should do with scholarly materials produced by others, and when determining how best to disseminate their own work.

If faculty members, in particular, get smarter about copyright and publishing contracts, universities may be able to make faculty research more widely available. Either by negotiations or by university policy, professors may be able to retain sufficient rights to make and authorize nonprofit educational uses of their works. This could enable them to post it on course websites, put it in digital libraries, and grant permission to colleagues to do the same without having to get publisher permissions or pay fees. Such dissemination serves universities’ teaching and research missions, and the interests of scholars who write to have an impact on their students, their fields of study, and the larger society.

Scholarly communications officers and directors are generally located in research library offices, but their responsibilities include answering questions and offering guidance for the entire campus community. Here are just some additional services they can provide:

  • Review publishing contracts and make suggestions about terms for which faculty members should try to negotiate (e.g., a rights reversion clause if the work sells below a certain level per year).
  • Translate contract terms that faculty members don’t understand and explain why publishers might ask for them.
  • Provide advice about open access options and help faculty to decide whether those options might better achieve faculty goals for dissemination of their work.
  • Help authors comply with grant obligations, especially now when government agencies and other funders often require public access to research conducted with their grants.
  • Talk with professors about fair use issues. If a historian, for instance, wants to quote from a subject’s letters or use photographs from the 1950s, a scholarly communications officer can point her to resources about copyright law’s fair use doctrine. This helps faculty to make more informed judgments about whether their desired uses are consistent with copyright norms as well as norms of their fields.
  • Make suggestions about how an author can clear necessary rights if the intended uses go beyond what fair use would reasonably allow.
  • Help authors recapture, through rights reversions, faculty whose books may have been out of print or otherwise commercially inactive for decades. Authors Alliance, of which I am president, has published a guide to rights reversions and templates for letters to send to publishers to regain control of copyrights, but most faculty members don’t know about these resources. Scholarly communications experts do.
  • Advise graduate students about whether to agree to embargos of their dissertations and how to think carefully about the terms of any embargo. Today’s scholarly work that is “born digital” has the potential to reach a global audience immediately, yet graduate students face familiar insecurities about publication and job prospects. The scholarly communications office can help them learn at the very outset of their scholarly careers about how to establish their academic reputations and maximize the impact of their scholarship.

Designation of a scholarly communications officer is not a silver bullet that will reverse the rising costs of scholarly journals or shrinking budgets for monographs and other resources. Nor can it ensure that scholarly communications will reach its full digital age potential. But experts in the field can build valuable connections between the researchers who consume and produce scholarly works and the librarians who are responsible for acquiring these works and making them accessible. And their universities are investing in a better future for scholarly communications.

Rightsback.org Termination of Transfer Tool

Posted October 31, 2016

In October of 2016, we launched a new online tool at rightsback.org, made with our allies at Creative Commons and designed to help authors navigate the “termination of transfer” provisions of U.S. copyright law.

Complementing our efforts around rights reversions, the area of the law our tool helps clarify allows authors (or, in some cases, their family members) to regain rights to creative works signed away many years ago. Though these termination rights are an extremely powerful boon for authors and creators, exercising them can be daunting. The law is complex and difficult to navigate, requiring attention to detail and careful timing.

The tool provides basic information about how the eligibility and timing of a right based on user input, along with suggestions on next steps that a creator may wish to take in securing rights. To learn more, view our demo video, featuring Professor Sidonie Smith of the University of Michigan that goes through the tool step by step.

As always, you can contact us directly with any questions or suggestions. We are excited to share this  resource with you, and look forward to your comments.

Brush Up on Your Open Access Knowledge With Our OA Handbook

Posted October 27, 2016

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Just in time for Open Access Week, we’re highlighting our guidebook, Understanding Open Access: When, Why, & How To Make Your Work Openly Accessible. This is the second volume in our series of educational handbooks, following on the success of Understanding Rights Reversion. Our goal is to encourage our members to consider open access publishing by addressing common questions and concerns and by providing real-life strategies and tools that authors can use to work with publishers, institutions, and funders to make their works more widely accessible to all. Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter 1 to get you started.


Are you considering making your work openly accessible?

Are you required to make your work openly accessible by an institutional or funding mandate?

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions—or just want to learn more about open access—then read on! Understanding Open Access is for authors of all backgrounds, fields, and disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities. Because the open access ecosystem in academia is particularly complex, this guide is largely geared to the needs of authors working for academic institutions or under funding mandates. However, many chapters are suitable for authors who write other in contexts, and we encourage all authors interested in open access to read those sections relevant to their needs.

This guide will help you determine whether open access is right for you and your work and, if so, how to make your work openly accessible. This primer on open access explains what “open access” means, addresses common concerns and misconceptions you may have about open access, and provides you with practical steps to take if you wish to make your work openly accessible.

For example, this guide will help you:

  • Learn more about open access and related options;
  • Comply with an open access policy from an employer or funding agency;
  • Select the terms on which you would like to make a work openly accessible;
  • Publish a work with an open access publisher;
  • Make a work openly accessible on a personal or group website;
  • Deposit a work in an open access repository;
  • Negotiate with a conventional publisher to make a work openly accessible;
  • And much more.

This guide is the product of extensive interviews with authors, publishers, and institutional representatives who shared their perspectives on open access options in today’s publishing environment. The information, strategies, and examples included in this guide share the collective wisdom of our interviewees, members, and other experts.


If you have questions or comments about open access, or wish to share your own experiences with open access publishing, get in touch and let us know!

This Open Access Week, learn about regaining rights with our new tool

Posted October 25, 2016

openaccess

Just in time for Open Access Week, we are pleased to announce the launch of a brand-new online tool made with our allies at Creative Commons and designed to help authors navigate the “termination of transfer” provisions of U.S. copyright law. The theme of this year’s Open Access Week is “Open in Action” and our new tool helps creators take actionable steps to regain rights and make their work more accessible.

Complementing our efforts around rights reversions, the area of the law our tool helps clarify allows authors (or, in some cases, their family members) to regain rights to creative works signed away many years ago. Though these termination rights are an extremely powerful boon for authors and creators, exercising them can be daunting. The law is complex and difficult to navigate, requiring attention to detail and careful timing.

That is why we’ve partnered with Creative Commons to build an online tool to help clarify the law’s terms and make its intricate timing requirements easier to follow. Through a series of prompts, users enter information about a work, and the tool provides basic information about how the eligibility and timing of a right, along with suggestions on next steps that a creator may wish to take in securing rights.

Want to see it in action? Check out the demo video we’ve made, featuring Professor Sidonie Smith of the University of Michigan (and a member of our advisory board) that goes through the tool step by step.

Want to try it out? The new Termination of Transfer tool is currently in beta, and still needs your review and feedback. We encourage authors and creators to give it a try, and hope you’ll share your feedback via the public comments page. And, as always, you can contact us directly with any questions or suggestions. We are excited to share this new resource with you, and look forward to your comments.

Introducing Our Guide to Crafting a Rights Reversion Letter

Posted April 11, 2016

8315787e-7f20-447b-94eb-172102e71e9fBooks that have fallen out of print, or aren’t selling as well as they used to, can enjoy a second life thanks to rights reversion—the process by which an author may regain control of some or all of her rights in a previously published work.  Thanks to reversion, works can appear online, in new editions, translations, or in other formats chosen by the author. Our Guide to Understanding Rights Reversion is a handy primer on the topic, and now, we are offering alongside it a brief Guide to Crafting a Reversion Letter with the goal of reverting rights. This all-important first step in the reversion process is not always straightforward, and our hope is that this guide (including letter templates) will help authors take the plunge in approaching their publishers to regain their rights. We’d like to thank Nicole Cabrera, Jordyn Ostroff, and Brianna Schofield of the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley Law for their work in creating this guide.

Visit our Resources page to download our materials for free. While you’re there, be sure to check out our other resources and tools—and let us know about your rights reversion success stories!

The Authors Alliance Guide to Crafting A Reversion Letter

The first step in reverting rights to previously published work is to initiate a conversation with the rightsholder—usually a publisher. This process is not always straightforward, so Authors Alliance has created a concise collection of templates and sample language that may be used as a starting point. The Authors Alliance Guide to Crafting a Rights Reversion Letter (including letter templates) is intended to help authors take the all-important initial step in the rights reversion process. We’d like to thank Nicole Cabrera, Jordyn Ostroff, and Brianna Schofield of the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley Law for their work in creating this guide, which is a companion to their primer on Understanding Rights Reversion.

A collection of rights management tools is available on our Resources page. Check back often for updates and new information!